OREMUS: 4 October 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Oct 3 20:25:06 GMT 2010

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OREMUS for Sunday, October 4, 2009
Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

Let all the earth acclaim God,
sing to the glory of God's name.
Come and see what God has done,
let the sound of praise be heard. Amen.

Blessed are you, God of our salvation,
we falter before the demands of your word
and turn away from your call to life.
Yet you pour out your mercy on us
as you showed mercy to your people of old,
that we may turn from our sinfulness
and walk the path of self-emptying love
made known in Jesus Christ. 
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?*
 and are so far from my cry
   and from the words of my distress?
O my God, I cry in the daytime,
   but you do not answer;*
 by night as well, but I find no rest.
Yet you are the Holy One,*
 enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
Our forebears put their trust in you;*
 they trusted and you delivered them.
They cried out to you and were delivered;*
 they trusted in you and were not put to shame.
But as for me, I am a worm and no man,*
 scorned by all and despised by the people.
All who see me laugh me to scorn;*
 they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,
'He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him;*
 let him rescue him, if he delights in him.'
Yet you are he who took me out of the womb,*
 and kept me safe upon my mother's breast.
I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born;*
 you were my God
   when I was still in my mother's womb.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near,*
 and there is none to help.
Many young bulls encircle me;*
 strong bulls of Bashan surround me.
They open wide their jaws at me,*
 like a ravening and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water;
   all my bones are out of joint;*
 my heart within my breast is melting wax.
My mouth is dried out like a potsherd;
   my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;*
 and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.
Packs of dogs close me in,
   and gangs of evildoers circle around me;*
 they pierce my hands and my feet;
   I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;*
 they divide my garments among them;
   they cast lots for my clothing.
Be not far away, O Lord;*
 you are my strength; hasten to help me.
Save me from the sword,*
 my life from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion's mouth,*
 my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.
I will declare your name to my people;*
 in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
Praise the Lord, you that fear him;*
 stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;
   all you of Jacob's line, give glory.
For he does not despise nor abhor
   the poor in their poverty;
   neither does he hide his face from them;*
 but when they cry to him he hears them.
My praise is of him in the great assembly;*
 I will perform my vows
   in the presence of those who worship him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
   and those who seek the Lord shall praise him:*
 'May your heart live for ever!'
All the ends of the earth
   shall remember and turn to the Lord,*
 and all the families of the nations
   shall bow before him.
For kingship belongs to the Lord;*
 he rules over the nations.
To him alone all who sleep in the earth
   bow down in worship;*
 all who go down to the dust fall before him.
My soul shall live for him;
   my descendants shall serve him;*
 they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.
They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn*
 the saving deeds that he has done.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;*
 I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures*
 and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul*
 and guides me along right pathways for his name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I shall fear no evil;*
 for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me
   in the presence of those who trouble me;*
 you have anointed my head with oil,
   and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,*
 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

FIRST READING [1 Kings 18:1-15]:

After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought, saying, 'Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.' So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; when Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) Then Ahab said to Obadiah, 'Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.' So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself. 

As Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him; Obadiah recognized him, fell on his face, and said, 'Is it you, my lord Elijah?' He answered him, 'It is I. Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.' And he said, 'How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ahab, to kill me? As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, “He is not here”, he would require an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. But now you say, “Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.” As soon as I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where; so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord's prophets fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water? Yet now you say, “Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here”; he will surely kill me.' Elijah said, 'As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.' 

Words: William H. Draper (1855-1933);
paraphrase of "Canticle of the Sun" by Francis of Assisi.
Tune: Lasst uns erfreuen

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All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice, (R)

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that givest man both warmth and light, (R)

Dear mother earth, who day by day
unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
let them his glory also show: (R)

And all ye men of tender heart,
forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
praise God and on him cast your care: (R)

And thou, most kind and gentle death,
waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
and Christ our Lord the way hath trod: (R)

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One: (R)

SECOND READING [Matt. 13:53-14:12]:

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. 

He came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, 'Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?' And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, 'Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.' And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief. 

At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, 'This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.' For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been telling him, 'It is not lawful for you to have her.' Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, 'Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.' The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. 

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Francis' Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer :
Our Father
Creator, Redeemer, Saviour and Comforter.

In heaven
In the angels and the saints.
You give them light so that they may have knowledge,
because you are light.
You inflame them so that they may love,
because you are love.
You live continually in them
so that they may be happy,
because you are the supreme good,
the eternal good,
and it is from you all good comes
and without you there is no good.

Hallowed be your name
May our knowledge of you become ever clearer,
so that we may realise the breadth of your blessings,
the extent of your promises,
the height of your majesty
and the depth of your judgements.

Your kingdom come
So that you may reign in us by your grace
and bring us to your kingdom,
where we shall see you clearly, love you perfectly,
be happy in your company
and enjoy you for ever.

Your will be done, on earth as in heaven
That we may love you with our whole heart
by always thinking of you;
with our whole mind by directing our whole intention towards you
and seeking your glory in everything;
and with all our strength
by spending all our energies and affections of soul and body
in the service of your love alone. 
And may we love our neighbour as ourselves,
encouraging them all to love you as best we can,
rejoicing at the good fortune of others,
just as if it were our own,
and sympathising with their misfortunes,
while giving offence to no one.

Give us today our daily bread
Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
to remind us of the love he showed for us
and to help us to understand and appreciate it
and everything that he did or said or suffered.

And forgive us our sins
In your infinite mercy,
and by the power of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
together with the merits and the intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints.

As we forgive those who sin against us
And if we do not forgive perfectly,
make us forgive perfectly,
so that we may truly love our enemies for love of you
and pray fervently to you for them,
returning no one evil for evil,
anxious only to serve everybody in you.

Lead us not into temptation
Hidden or obvious, sudden or unforeseen.

But deliver us from evil
Present, past or future.  Amen.

O God, you ever delight to reveal yourself
to the child-like and lowly of heart
grant that, following the example of the blessed Francis,
we may count the wisdom of this world as foolishness
and know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

May the power of your love, Lord Christ,
fiery and sweet as honey,
so absorb our hearts
as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.
Grant that we may be ready
   to die for love of your love,
as you died for love of our love.  Amen.
The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The
Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer is adapted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. 

The collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the
Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

The closing sentence and the intercession are by Francis of Assisi.

Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. His early years
were frivolous, but an experience of sickness and another of military service
were instrumental in leading him to reflect on the purpose of life. One day, in
the church of San Damiano, he seemed to hear Christ saying to him, "Francis,
repair my falling house." He took the words literally, and sold a bale of silk
from his father's warehouse to pay for repairs to the church of San Damiano.
His father was outraged, and there was a public confrontation at which his
father disinherited and disowned him, and he in turn renounced his father's
wealth--one account says that he not only handed his father his purse, but also
took off his expensive clothes, laid them at his father's feet, and walked away
naked. He declared himself "wedded to Lady Poverty", renounced all material
possessions, and devoted himself to serving the poor. In his day the most
dreaded of all diseases was something known as leprosy. (It is probably not the
same as either the modern or the Biblical disease of that name.) Lepers were
kept at a distance and regarded with fear and disgust. Francis cared for them,
fed them, bathed their sores, and kissed them. Since he could not pay for
repairs to the Church of San Damiano, he undertook to repair it by his own
labors. He moved in with the priest, and begged stones lying useless in fields,
shaping them for use in repairing the church. He got his meals, not by asking
for money so that he might live at the expense of others, but by scrounging
crusts and discarded vegetable from trash-bins, and by working as a day
laborer, insisting on being paid in bread, milk, eggs, or vegetables rather than in
money. Soon a few companions joined him. Dante in his Paradiso has Aquinas
say of him:
Let me tell you of a youth whose aristocratic father disowned him because of
his love for a beautiful lady. She had been married before, to Christ, and was
so faithful a spouse to Him that, while Mary only stood at the foot of the
Cross, she leaped up to be with Him on the Cross. These two of whom I speak
are Francis and the Lady Poverty. As they walked along together, the sight of
their mutual love drew men's hearts after them. Bernard saw them and ran after
them, kicking off his shoes to run faster to so great a peace. Giles and
Sylvester saw them, kicked off their shoes and ran to join them....
After three years, in 1210, the Pope authorized the forming of the Order of
Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans. ("Friar" means "brother," as in
"fraternity", and "minor" means "lesser" or "younger." I take the meaning to be
that a Franciscan, meeting another Christian, is to think, "I am your brother in
Christ, and your younger brother at that, bound to defer to you and to give you
precedence over myself."
Francis and his companions took literally the words of Christ when he sent his
disciples out to preach (Matthew 10:7-10): Preach as you go, saying, "The
kingdom of Heaven is at hand." ... You have received the Gospel without
payment, give it to others as freely. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your
belts, no bag for your journey, no spare garment, nor sandals, nor staff. They
would have no money, and no property, individually or collectively. Their task
was to preach, "using words if necessary," but declaring by word and action
the love of God in Christ. Francis was partial to a touch of the dramatic (see
his parting from his father, for example), and it was probably he who set up the
first Christmas manger scene, to bring home the Good News of God made man
for our salvation, home to men's hearts and imaginations as well as to their
In 1219, Francis went to the Holy Land to preach to the moslems. He was
given a pass through the enemy lines, and spoke to the Sultan, Melek-al-Kamil.
Francis proclaimed the Gospel to the Sultan, who replied that he had his own
beliefs, and that moslems were as firmly convinced of the truth of Islam as
Francis was of the truth of Christianity. Francis proposed that a fire be built,
and that he and a moslem volunteer would walk side by side into the fire to
show whose faith was stronger. The Sultan said he was not sure that a moslem
volunteer could be found. Francis then offered to walk into the fire alone. The
Sultan who was deeply impressed but remained unconverted. Francis proposed
an armistice between the two warring sides, and drew up terms for one; the
Sultan agreed, but, to Francis's deep disappointment, the Christian leaders
would not. Francis returned to Italy, but a permanent result was that the
Franciscans were given custody of the Christian shrines then in moslem
Back in Italy and neighboring countries, the Order was suffering from its own
success. Then, as now, many persons were deeply attracted by Francis and his
air of joy, abandonment, and freedom. What is overlooked is that these were
made possible only by his willingness to accept total poverty, not picturesque
poverty but real dirt, rags, cold, and hunger, and lepers with real pus oozing
from their sores and a real danger of infection. Many idealistic young men were
joining the Order in a burst of enthusiasm and then finding themselves not so
sure that such extremes of poverty were really necessary. When there were
only a few friars, they were all known to Francis personally, and the force of
his personality kept the original ideals of the Order alive in them. Now that the
Order was larger, this was no longer enough. In 1220 Francis resigned as
minister-general of the Order, and in 1221 he agreed to a new and modified
rule, which he did not approve, but could not resist. He died on 4 October
1226. The Franciscan split into the Conventual Franciscans, who held a limited
amount of property in common, and the Spiritual Franciscans, who disavowed
all property. They taught that Christ and the twelve apostles had held no
property, singly or jointly. This view offended those who held property, and
was declared to be heretical (proof text, John 18:10; Jesus said to Peter, "Put
up thy sword...."). In 1318, several Spiritual Franciscans were burned at the
stake in Marseilles.
>From the first known letter from Francis to all Christians:
"O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord
himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole
heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Thereofore, let us
love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire
when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who
adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises
and prayers, saying: "Our Father, who are in heaven," since we must always
pray and never grow slack.
Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our
neightbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms
because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material
things they leave behind in this world, but they carry with them the reward of
their charity and the alms they give. For these they will recieve from the Lord
the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent
according to the flesh. Rather we must be sinple, humble and pure. We should
never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are
submissive toe very human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will
rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will
permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work.
They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. [James
Kiefer, abridged]

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